[pccgrads] Fall Course "The Natural Variability of Glaciers"

UW PCC uwpcc at u.washington.edu
Thu Sep 24 10:52:18 PDT 2015

The natural variability of glaciers

ESS590: 2cr (cr/nc) Tues 2.30-4.00, JHN377 (or whatever works)

Gerard Roe, Michelle Koutnik, Jamie Shulmeister (U. Queensland)

Ongoing retreat of glaciers is a powerful totem of climate change. Moreover,
reconstructions of past glacier fluctuations feature heavily in our
narrative of past climate change. Glacier history is thus one of the key
links between past and future climate.

While the current warming is indisputable, the situation in the centuries
and millennia prior to the instrumental record is more fragmentary. The
interpretation of glacier records is a classic exercise in signal-to-noise
detection. Which fluctuations reflect a true climate change, and which are
simply to be expected in the normal operation of a noisy system?

The first 2-3 classes will review glacier mass balance and the basic physics
of glacier response to climate. The remainder of the class will be a group
effort to collate and evaluate the primary literature as broadly as
possible. The class is intended for any graduate students active in climate

Prof. Jamie Shulmeister from the University of Queensland will be
participating. Jamie is an expert in glacial geology and is spending a
sabbatical quarter with us.

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